June 25, 2020
Time is running out on the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). The deadline for small businesses to apply for forgivable PPP loans is June 30. Even for businesses now reopening, the PPP is still available as a source of COVID-19 financial relief.

Initially plagued by confusing vagueness and overly restrictive rules, the PPP has been improved since the program’s launch. The US Small Business Administration (SBA) made many guidance updates, and earlier this month Congress amended the law.

10 Exceptions for Refusing to Return to Work
Many of you have told us it is difficult to get some employees to return to work. The exceptions for not accepting a return work offer are these:

Without having been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine, an individual who does not go to work due to general concerns about exposure to COVID-19, and who does not meet any of the other COVID-related criteria for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), is not eligible for unemployment. The CARES Act provides for PUA benefits under these 10 circumstances:

  • They've been diagnosed with COVID-19 or are seeking a medical diagnosis;
  • A member of the individual’s household has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • They are providing care for a family member or a member of their household who has been diagnosed with COVID-19;
  • A child or other person in the household for which they have primary caregiving responsibility is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed due to COVID-19;
  • They are unable to go to work because of a COVID-19 quarantine imposed;
  • They are unable to go to work because they have been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to COVID-19;
  • They were scheduled to commence employment and do not have a job or are unable to reach the job due to COVID-19;
  • They have become the breadwinner of the household because the head of the household has died due to COVID-19;
  • They have to quit their job due to COVID-19; or
  • Their place of employment is closed due to COVID-19.

If a claimant is requested to return to work and they don’t meet any of the above circumstances, benefits will cease.
What to do if an Employee Tests Positive for COVID?
  • In the event an employee becomes ill during the workday, he or she should be sent home immediately. 

  • Once a sick employee and those with possible exposure have left the impacted area(s), the area(s) must be closed off for heightened cleaning and disinfection in accordance with CDC protocols and guidelines

  • This would include, but not be limited to, a deep cleaning of all touch points throughout the impacted area and disinfecting all surfaces, including glass.

  • Having COVID-19 sick leave policies is strongly encouraged and will be critical for the successful implementation of this requirement. 

  • If an employee tests positive, the organization or business must immediately contact ADPH at 1-800-270-7268, so they can assist in contact tracing and provide further instruction. 

  • The Restaurant Law Center's guidance outlines what operators should do if an employee is sick, as well as what to do for employees who were exposed but are asymptomatic. This document provides the relevant links from the CDC, EEOC, or OSHA for additional guidance. Please note that any current or future ADPH regulations or guidelines take supersede this document.

  • Businesses and organizations must respect individual privacy and must not disclose the name of employees who test positive to other employees or the public. 
Many restaurants have suspended their programs, but the service has a history of bouncing back according to Restaurant Business. With the onslaught of the coronavirus and the subsequent cascade of dine-in bans, many eateries pivoted to survive — building carryout and delivery infrastructure out of thin air, offering pared-down to-go menus and heat-and-serve meal kits, and hawking groceries and wine.

Against this grim backdrop, some two-thirds of operators suspended their catering programs, according to Technomic’s COVID Foodservice Impact Monitor (for the week ending April 10). A third of operators still offered catering and, notably, about half of midscale chains.

As of late April, 37% of operators were targeting new catering business, even if it looked a bit different. Forty percent were promoting their catering menus as family meals, smartly leaning into existing packaging and food offerings. Additionally, 27% had expanded their catering menus to include grocery items.

Don't lose sight of hospitality. Your guests need to feel welcome, comfortable, and they need to know that you are glad to see them. Any of your staff members that interact with a guest need to show them genuine hospitality and greet them with a warm smile. Your smile makes a huge impact on guests, even if it is coming from behind a mask!
Hotels are reexamining the entire public restroom experience to see what changes they need to make to help promote health and safety. At the top of the list is eliminating anything that needs to be touched.

“For more than two decades, there has been a focus on making restrooms touchless,” says Klaus Reichardt, CEO and founder of Waterless Co., Inc., manufacturers of no-water urinals and other restroom products. “But now, we will see that jump exponentially.”

Does your business need masks? ARHA has reusable masks available now while supplies last. The cost is $1.50 per mask plus shipping (must order in multiples of 50). They are made of a two-ply dry-fit type material. Masks are available to ship today or for pick up in Montgomery.  Place order online or call ARHA at 334.244.1320.

ARHA Membership Matters -- JOIN TODAY!
We understand you cannot go it alone. In fact, you haven't been. The Alabama Restaurant and Hospitality Association (ARHA) is dedicated to having a seat at the table and advocating for the state's hospitality industry at all levels. There’s strength in numbers. When the Alabama hospitality industry comes together, our collective voice becomes stronger and our impact far greater than any single business or operator could be alone. Also, membership provides support, training, resources and cost saving programs. Learn more about membership benefits.

The food service, hospitality and tourism industry is Alabama's second-largest employer--making ARHA members the cornerstone of the state's economy. ARHA is the recognized leader of the Alabama hospitality and we sincerely encourage you to join our team.

For more information about joining ARHA, contact Shea Perkins at 334.244.1320.

In partnership with ARHA and State health officials, we would like for you, the restaurant owner and operators to make the commitment to instill confidence and ensure the safety of your customers during the COVID-19 recovery period by hanging the poster and displaying the decal in your entrance. When customers see this endorsement, they can be certain that you, the restaurant are taking all necessary steps to protect your employees and customers and are committed to protecting the community. 
Download the poster and display the decal (provided by ARHA).

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) introduced Safe Stay, an industry-wide, enhanced standard of health and safety protocols designed to prepare hotels to safely welcome back guests and employees as the economy reopens.

The Safe Stay guidelines are intended to be revised as needed and include guidance on the following:
  • Employee & guest health
  • Employee responsibilities
  • Cleaning products & protocols
  • Physical distancing

Address: 3 S. Jackson Street
Montgomery, Al 36104
Tel: 334.244.1320
Fax: 334.244.9800